Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with fashion photographer Cynthia Berger

From the series Post Punk

A little while ago I wrote an article about fashion in Berlin. It wasn’t particularly amorous to say the least; save a few incredible museums, I wasn’t overtly impressed by the grade of the fashion I saw on the street. I was only there for the weekend, mind.

Coincidentally an email popped into the fashion inbox pretty soon after from Cynthia Berger – German born and Berlin based fashion photographer. I failed to mention my less-than-flattering view of Berlin, but her photographs completely stole my attention.

Cynthia is a fashion photographer through and through, and her early years were spent wielding a camera with the help of her photographer father.

The images Cynthia creates are often stark portraits of the citizens of Berlin, and with minimal settings and styling, there is a real photojournalistic realism to her photographs (it’s no surprise to discover, then, that her influential father was also a journalist). Her work reminds me much of some of the work that was featured in Amelia’s Magazine – Louise Samuelson in Issue 08 for example.

Cynthia uses street-cast models in her photographs, giving each picture added verisimilitude, along with the designs of up-and-coming Berlin fashion designers; with most of her work being set within the dramatic urban landscape of Berlin itself, Cynthia’s photographs totally embody the spirit of this historical city.

From the series Berlin Fashion

I managed to have a quick chat with Cynthia about her father, her work and her future…

How did you get in to photography?
My father was both a photographer and a journalist, so at a very early age I was surrounded by photography. At aged 8 I started to take my own photographs.
What did you study?
I studied Photography in Germany and worked later in Capetown as a photographer’s assistant. Back in Germany, I studied Communication and worked for a while as a researcher in the media world, finally coming home after that.

How do your shoots come together?
The photograph is already taken in my mind before I go and shoot. I plan the shoots entirely, so that I have the freedom to experience everything and to allow the ideas to evolve.

What about photography in particular keeps you focussed?
I like to involve and inspire people.

From the series Boys in the Suburbs

What messages do your photographs carry?
Every photograph always carries a variety of messages.

Which photographers do you admire, and why?
I like Richard Avedon, particularly his portraits – they have such high density and intense impression. I also like the work of Anna Gaskell, her mysterious atmosphere and symbolic storytelling.

How is the fashion/photography scene in Berlin?
Berlin is the fashion capital of Germany. Berlin is a city that is immensely inspiring through constant change. It’s a melting pot for design, fashion, art, architecture, music and photography.

Have you travelled as a photographer?
I lived three years in Capetown, a year in London and did a few travels through the USA and Europe.

Do you think photographs can change opinions, challenge ideals, inform, provoke or otherwise?
They can – if you put them into the right context.  

What are your plans for the future?
I write any ideas I have in my “Idea Book” that I have with me wherever I am. I have many projects planned for the future, with an exhibition here in Berlin high on the list.

From the series Laura’s Story, exclusive to Amelia’s Magazine

You can see more of Cynthia’s work here.

Categories ,Amelia’s Magazine 08, ,Anna Gaskell, ,berlin, ,Capetown, ,Communication, ,Cynthia Berger, ,fashion, ,Germany, ,journalism, ,landscape, ,london, ,Louise Samuelson, ,Matt Bramford, ,Messages, ,models, ,photography, ,photojournalism, ,Richard Avedon, ,South Africa

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